The NCAA has cancelled all remaining winter and spring championships ©Getty Images

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has cancelled all winter and spring championships - including the men's and women's basketball tournaments - because of the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

The men's and women's basketball tournaments - often known as March Madness - are two of the NCAA's biggest events of the year.

After conferences including the Big 10, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference cancelled their basketball tournaments, the NCAA tournaments appeared likely to follow suit - and even more so when one of the biggest programmes in college basketball, Duke, pulled out.

The NCAA announced yesterday that all spring and winter championships not yet played - not just basketball - would not go ahead.

"NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships", said a statement.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities."

The women's gymnastic championships, baseball's College World Series, ice hockey's Frozen Four and both men's and women's golf championships are among the cancelled events.

Also cancelled is the indoor track and field championships, due to begin in Albuquerque tomorrow.

There are more than 1,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US and all major sport in the country - including professional ice hockey, baseball, basketball and football leagues - is on hold.